Removing the German Surface Threat

World War II in the Arctic

the Arctic 1944.0625

Removing the German Surface Threat

Arctic disputes, Winter War, Weather War, World War II, Cold War, Climate Change (25 June 1944)

Historical Map of the Arctic & the Far North

By mid 1943, the Allies were successfully defeating the German U-boats in the Atlantic, leaving the Norwegian-based battleships Tirpitz and Scharnhorst as the main threat to the Arctic convoys. The British found Tirpitz in port and eventually destroyed her after seven waves of attacks over more than a year. Meanwhile Scharnhorst was sunk at North Cape while attempting to intercept Convoy JW 55B. The Arctic Convoy route had been secured.

Main Events

Sinking the Tirpitz

Seven waves of successive British attacks with midget submarines, carrier-borne aircraft, and land-based bombers flying from both Russia and Scotland eventually sank the German battleship Tirpitz, moored near Altafjord and then Tromso, Norway.

Battle of the North Cape

The German battleship Scharnhorst was intercepted by a Royal Navy force comprising the battleship HMS Duke of York, four cruisers, and nine destroyers off Norway's North Cape. In the ensuing battle, the Scharnhorst was sunk with the loss of 1,932 crew killed and 36 captured for British losses of 11 killed and 11 wounded.


After extensive aerial and naval bombardment, including the landing of 24,000 airborne troops, 156,000 US, British, and other Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, German-occupied France, in the largest seaborne invasion in history. The landings began at 06:30 and met heavy fire from gun emplacements overlooking the beaches, along with numerous mines and obstacles. Over the day, the Allies suffered at least 10,000 casualties vs about 1,000 for the Germans, but secured their beachhead.

Vyborg Offensive

Supported by an aerial and artillery assault beginning on 9 June 1944, the Soviet Leningrad Front launched an all-out offensive on Finnish defensive lines near Leningrad. Overwhelming the Finns, the Soviets pushed forward to capture Vyborg on 20 June.

Republic of Iceland

Following a referendum in May 1944 in which 99.5% favored independence, the Icelandic parliament formally severed ties to the Danish monarchy, founding the Republic of Iceland.

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